How many of us started out with huge dreams...the kind that stretched far, far beyond what we can see? How many of us played in the woods building forts and defending them from intruders and dragons, or by the ocean building sand castles and trenches? Were you so lost in books that you felt the Famous Five were your best friends? Did you skirt the local park with dark glasses searching for villains and opportunities to spy or use your magic super powers? Did you build Lego towns and fill them with adventure? Did you play 'Pooh Sticks' or race paper boats down the river? Did you draw fantastical pictures and wait at night for them to come alive? Were your stories so magical you slipped into them when you dreamed at night? Did you make mud pies and feed a family of dolls and teddy bears? Did you dream? Did you have dreams so strong you were sure you would achieve them?
I did...I knew exactly what I wanted as a child... I wanted to own horses, to spend my days galloping across mountains and valleys... I wanted to live by the ocean and swim in the sea every day... I wanted to write and see my stories published... I wanted to draw and paint and illustrate... Yes, I had dreams...
To be truthful, some were just childhood imaginings, fun, playtime. I was never going to live in the forest and defend my homestead from dragons...
I had ambition, as a child I wanted to write and draw, and I did, making books from A5 paper...I devoured Cicely Mary Barker's 'Flower Fairies' and made up my own, stapling pages together and inventing rhymes to go with them. I bought tiny A6 notepads and wrote stories, lost in a world of my own. I drew, sitting on my bed with a sketch pad, my tongue protruding as I concentrated on my art, sketching for hours.
I began to doubt myself, my ability and question the reality of the things I once wanted. Was I good enough to illustrate, or to write something that people, real people, would actually want to read? That doubt, along with the realities of life, leaving school, getting a job, getting married and having children, stopped me from pursuing those things I'd dreamed of all my childhood.
I don't blame anyone, I just let life take over and my dreams faded like an old masterpiece hung on a wall that no one does more than glance at, left to saturate in the glare of every day sun.
I could have been more than the sum of what I am right now...that does make me sad...there is so much more I could have achieved. It was when I was thirty that I decided I could become more, that those old buried dreams deserved a second look. And I began to write.
Self-belief has taken a lot longer...however, slowly over the years those shattered dreams have come alive, my writing has fed my aspirations and words that I thought would never interest anyone have become the tool for rebuilding those dreams.
So, yes, it's true I have never found myself dwelling in the woods defending my little wooden fort from all things evil, but those dragons I used to chase off in my imagination, now live on paper. I believe in them, I believe in me...and that's where it all starts...the future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams...I intend to believe in mine!